11th United States Cavalry - 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment
11 July 2001
BIOGRAPHY OF THE ASSOCIATION
THE 11TH ARMORED CAVALRY'S VETERANS OF VIETNAM & CAMBODIA
The 11th Armored Cavalry's Veterans of Vietnam and Cambodia is one of the nations fastest growing veterans organizations per ratio to its combat troop strength. Reunion attendance is four times that of other military combat units. The 11th Cavalry served in Vietnam from 1966 to 1972 and was later rated by military historians as one of the top combat units of that war.
In 1986 a small group of aging warriors gathered in Arlington, Texas, bonded in brotherhood by the intensity of war, to reflect on the good times as well as the bad. To remember those who once rode the iron battle wagons with them, but will never attend these reunions but in spirit. To put behind all those years of controversy about a war that they neither lost, nor were allowed to finish. To remember their pride in their country, their unit, and in themselves for picking up the baggage that their peers refused carry, and the privileged sidestepped. "The Vietnam War."
In that short weekend during the heat of a Texas summer, a Regiment was reborn and another mission was planned, to locate all 21,000 soldiers that served with the Blackhorse Regiment in Vietnam from 1966 to 1972.
Each year since 1986, an annual reunion has been held in cities across the country with an ever increasing attendance. The 1992 San Antonio, Texas site expected 600 and burst at the seams with nearly one thousand veterans and family. Even the retired General George S. Patton, son of WWII's "Blood and Guts" made the event and delivered a powerful and moving speech. Patton was the commander of the Blackhorse Regiment during 1968 and 1969.
The aggressive race against the clock to find the remaining survivors is funded in part by donations from the membership and a lot of volunteer time. No public funds are solicited. Each recently found trooper is requested to send in copies of his old military orders, which usually contained the names of others in that unit along with social security numbers. With the names and social security numbers in hand, a private company attempts a computer search for a current address for a fee. This has been costly but the most successful method yet. The government has a list of each veteran on file collecting dust, but, will not furnish this to the organization because it would violate the Privacy Act. So the search continues with 19,000 accounted for to date.
The next mission of the organization is a labor of love. The scholarship fund. This fund was originally established to provide financial support to the children of those troopers who gave their last full measure of devotion to God and country. The fund is 100% free of administrative costs since everyone is a volunteer. As these children pass beyond college age, the fund continues to assist the children of veterans who started families later. Some, because of the injuries they received while serving our country, are unable financially to provide a college education for their children.